Whether you work in construction or frequently tackle home renovation projects, you know that a solid pair of work boots is essential for safety and comfort. And depending on your workplace environment, it’s even require by law.
The U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to mandate that their employees wear protective footwear if their job poses a danger to their feet, like in carpentry and construction. These work boots often feature steel-toe designs to prevent injuries from falling objects and other hazards, as well as grippy lug soles to keep you sure-footed on a range of surfaces. “Investing in a pair of the best work boots is smart, and many times necessary to ensure proper protection while on the job,” says New York-based board-certified podiatrist and specialist for The Good Feet Store, Dr. William Spielfogel. “Steel toe work boots are a great option for protection in the toe region that will help prevent injury from falling debris, hazardous materials and other types of potential foot injuries that can happen on the job.”
But there are many other work boot styles beyond your heavy-duty steel toe footwear, including aluminum toe and composite toe options. These work boots feature toe caps made of plastic, carbon fiber or other strong synthetic materials. Though aluminum styles are lightweight alternative to steel toe options, they tend to be more expensive and aren’t built to provide as much impact resistance. Composite-toe boots are lightweight and metal-free, making them ideal for workers that are required to frequently pass through metal detectors, such as airport workers or security personnel.
If you’re not required to wear a safety toe footwear, opt for a classic work boot with a soft toe that tend to be more comfortable and much lighter. The best soft toe work boots have slip-resistant soles and electrical hazard protection, which makes them ideal for electricians.
How to Find the Best Work Boots for Men
No matter what type of work boots you choose, it’s important they have a high comfort-rating and proper support to avoid adverse health problems. “Many workers tend to be on their feet for extended periods of time and need to ensure their arches are properly supported,” says Dr. Spielfogel. “This can be difficult to find in a work boot, so you have the option to add an insole for work boots, which ensures your feet are aligned in the proper position and support the four arches. When the feet are not properly supported, the body can become misaligned, leading to frequent aches, pain and inflammation in your feet, knees, hips or back, which can be detrimental for those whose jobs require them to be on their feet daily.”
For premium slip-resistance, Occupational Health & Safety Magazine (OHA) recommends choosing styles with small slits or snipes in the outsole that are approximately two millimeters apart from one another. This amount of space between the grooves enables liquid to move properly to the sole’s border. Otherwise, liquid can get trapped underneath the sole and cause a hydroplaning effect.
And if you work with live wires, you’ll likely need a work boot that’s EH-rated, meaning they provide protection against potential electrical hazards while also keeping you stable on slippery surfaces. Cushioning and breathability are also taken into consideration, depending on preference, just like a good pair of sneakers. Many styles also come with moisture-wicking linings to help prevent sweat buildup and control odor.
As you can see, finding the right pair of work boots can be a job on its own, long before the physical work begins. We can’t build a house for you, but we can help you shop. We combed the market to compile the 17 best work boots for men that will keep you safe, supported and smiling on the job from top brands like Carhartt, Keen, Red Wing, Timberland, Danner and more.
Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe Work Boots
Best Work Boots for Hot Feet
These Caterpillar Second Shift Steel Toe are probably the most breathable heavy-duty steel-toe boots on the list. They feature a mesh lining and a special Climasphere insole that helps to keep your socks sweat-free. Plus, the steel-toe boasts a durable Goodyear welt construction that is roomy enough to accommodate work-boot insoles. They also have slip-resistant rubber outsoles that will keep you sure-footed on a range of surfaces, while the steel shank adds support and stability.
Rockrooster Steel Toe Work Boots
Best Work Boots for Wide Feet
These Rockrooster Steel Toe Work Boots come exclusively in wide widths to accommodate those with larger feet with an easy-on, easy-off handle, along with an inner stretch panel for additional comfort. The anatomically designed footbed brings on an extra cushion, while the slip-and oil-resistant outsoles ensure great traction. They’re built with CoolMax technology that wicks away moisture, keeping your feet calm cool and dry at any hour of the day. Plus, the footbed is designed to dissipate static into the ground, which reduces the chance of shock. This option provides an efficient support system for your knees and arches.
Wolverine Floorhand Steel Toe Work Boots
Many know Wolverine delivers a quality work boot that won’t disappoint. Some reviewers on Wolverine’s site have even invested in multiple pairs at once, just in case the brand runs out of stock! The most notable feature in Wolverine’s Floorhand Steel Toe Work Boot is the waterproof, full-grain leather upper combined with a moisture-wicking mesh lining that keeps the feet bone dry. Plus, the rubber outsoles on these work boots are built to provide extra traction, while a removable cushioned footbed should keep feet comfortable for hours on the job. A durable nylon shank adds extra strength, too. These subtly stylish work boots hit all the marks for just about everything you’ll need in a solid pair of steel-toe work boots.
Danner Bull Run Moc Toe Steel Toe Work Boots
Most Stylish Work Boots
These moc-toe style boots from Danner are an icon to both the brand and this category of footwear. Danner’s Bull Run Moc Toe 6″ ST Work Boots have a full-grain leather upper and lightweight leather lining that molds to your foot for a custom fit over time. It may take a few wears to break them in, but once you do, they will last longer than most on this list, making them a worthy investment when calculating cost-per-wear value. They’re set on a non-marking, oil-and-slip resistant Danner Wedge outsole that offers cushioned support and traction. They are designed to provide a wider platform for extra roominess. The brand’s classic stitch down construction delivers enhanced stability underfoot. We consider this option to be one of the best leather work boots on the market.
Caterpillar Diagnostic Waterproof Steel Toe Work Boots
Most Comfortable Steel-Toe Work Boots
With over 2,000 nearly perfect Amazon reviews, we couldn’t leave Caterpillar’s Steel Toe work boots off our list. One Amazon customer claims, “I am on my feet for 10 Hours a day, and after buying these, the pain in my feet has subsided. They provide exceptional arch support.”
Not only are these the most comfortable steel toe boots for standing all day, these work boots are also entirely waterproof. Though this option looks more like a sneaker boot than your traditional work boot, it provides all the protection and comfort you need.
Thorogood Crosstrex Side Zip Waterproof Comp Toe Work Boots
The Thorogood 6″ Crosstrex Side Zip Waterproof Comp Toe is another pair that brings the flexibility of a sneaker with the grip of a sturdy work boot. The mesh and leather combo upper has a waterproof membrane-cemented construction. That means your feet will breathe happy while staying dry with optimal flex. They’re built on a supportive, shock-absorbing Shock Zone PU footbed that can be removed, along with Crosstrex 360 outsoles with multi-directional lugs for stability and traction on a variety of surfaces.
Avenger A7223 Composite Toe Work Boots
Most Durable Composite Toe Work Boots
What makes the Avenger A7223 Work Boots extra special is the puncture-resistant Lenzi midsole plate. This footwear technology minimizes potential puncture wounds caused by sharp objects penetrating the outsole. They also have a plush collar, waterproof membrane, pillow cushion insoles and dual-density, slip- and oil-resistant outsoles. These work boots provide all day comfort and protection, and come highly recommended by those with restaurant kitchen jobs. Your foot will stay dry and grounded on wet surfaces and completely protected by any falling knives.
Cat Edge Waterproof Nano Toe Work Boots
Best Work Boots for Preventing Injury
When Cat launched the Edge Waterproof Nano Toe Work Boots earlier this year, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on them. They are among the most advanced technology in a pair of composite toe work boots to date. They feature a 5-point system that includes a shock absorbent heel that puts more bounce in your step, a cushioned insole to safely support all three arches, a stabilized wide outsole that won’t slip, a split shank that naturally moves with your body, and flexible grooves that remain sturdy on any terrain. The innovative system works exceptionally well with each other to prevent injury and provide all day comfort. It’s a work boot with big stylish sneaker energy.
Ariat Turbo Chelsea Waterproof Carbon Toe Work Boots
Ariat’s Turbo Chelsea Waterproof Carbon Toe Work Boots are completely waterproof and equipped with a lightweight carbon composite safety toe that meets the ASTM electrical standard rating. They are an easy on and off option, complete with breathable mesh linings for that need for a breeze. They also have high-rebound foam cushioned insoles with ATS technology for all-day support, which makes these men’s work boots feel more like slippers.
Carhartt Waterproof Wedge Soft Toe Work Boots
Most Stylish Soft Toe Boots
Carhartt’s Waterproof Wedge Soft Toe Work Boots feature a slight wedge under the foot. Sure this looks stylish, but it is really meant to boost traction and response. The sole makes more contact with the ground compared to traditional heeled styles making these the best work boots for men walking on concrete. These boots also includes the brand’s beloved shock-absorbing foam insole and FastDry lining that wicks away sweat and fights odors — two of the brand’s most notable features. You also get a Goodyear welt construction and breathable, waterproof membrane that meets the standard ASTM F2892-18 electrical hazard rule. And hey, these stylish-yet-functional work boot are the perfect excuse to hit happy hour after a long work day.
Georgia Athens Waterproof Wellington Work Boots
Best Slip-On Tall Work Boots
Georgia’s Athens Waterproof Wellington Work Boots have a leather and suede upper that’s fully waterproof, so you can trek through over 10 inches of a water puddle and your feet will remain as dry as the desert. They also feature an advanced memory polyurethane insole that feels like an expensive mattress for your feet. The comfort and waterproofing is unparalleled, just remember that these have a soft toe finish and won’t protect against dangerous falling debris. They exceed the ASTM electrical hazard standard, so this pair is guaranteed to slow down conduction.
Keen Utility San Jose Aluminum Toe Work Boots
The Keen Utility’s 6″ San Jose Aluminum Toe WP boots have everything you need to get the job done while remaining comfortable and cool. They have a leather upper, oil-and-slip-resistant outsoles and aluminum toes that exceed ASTM safety standards, all in a lightweight construction that won’t weigh you down like many other protective boots. They also offer odor control, moisture-wicking properties and a removable PU footbed for added comfort. Plus, you can easily remove the footbed to add in a custom insole.
Irish Setter 6″ Aluminum Toe Wedge Boots
The Irish Setter 6″ Aluminum Toe Wedge Boots are among the best leather work boots for men. They’re a moderately-priced pair that has useful details, like the rear loop leather handle to help you easily slide on these work boots. Consider this a great option for medium to wide feet (available in different widths), complete with the moc-toe stitching that lets your foot breathe with all-day wear. They are made with the iconic Goodyear welt construction for dependable durability that makes these boots a worthy investment. The aluminum toe meets the ASTM standard, and the rubber EVA traction ensures a slip-resistant finish.
Timberland PRO 6″ Soft Toe Insulated Waterproof Work Boots
Best Cold-Weather Work Boots
The Timberland PRO Soft Toe Insulated Waterproof Work Boots are an Amazon favorite with over 5,500 five-star reviews. While the iconic TImberland name will draw you in, the exceptional Thermolite insulation and waterproofing features will keep you coming back to the same pair year after year. Your feet will stay perfectly dry and warm in harsh weather conditions and anti-fatigued with a supportive arched footbed. This style features unique comfort suspension technology that makes them a top choice for rigorous work site demands when you’re on your feet all day. You get durability, protection, comfort and style, all in one of the best work boots for men.
Red Wing Heritage Classic Moc 6″ Boots
Best Hybrid Work Boots
Any roundup of the best work boots for men is not complete without a pair of Red Wings. The Red Wing Heritage Classic Moc 6″ Boots are an industry staple. One thing to note on this classic pair is that they take several wears to break in. But once you do, you’ll see it was worth the wait. These boots get better with age and can be worn for any work place environment, on the field or in an office. They have a supportive tread sole and footbed that molds to your foot shape, and they come in a wide array of colors.
Carhartt Composite Toe Work Boots
Best Work Boots for Electricians
The Carhartt Composite Toe Work Boots is an option you can trust, even if you’re dealing with hazardous electric conduction. They exceed electrical testing standards and are made with a rubber grip that will keep you supported and safe. They’re made with extra cushioning so you remain comfortable and energized on long days.
These work boots have almost 3,000 near-perfect reviews on Amazon. One reviewer said, “as an industrial electrician, I’ve had these around 18 months. I have hundreds of miles on them climbing up ladders, stairs, concrete, asphalt, gravel, oil, gasoline, ice, broken glass and more. I work 10 hour days, and the shoes have held up great.”
Wolverine Overpass 6″ Composite Toe Waterproof Insulated Work Boots
When you’re constantly moving on the job, there’s nothing worse than a clunky pair of boots slowing you down. The Wolverine Overpass 6″ Composite Toe Waterproof Insulated Work Boots are made for movement with a lightweight feel, making them the best work boots for those walking, bending and climbing rough terrain.